Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Einstein’s Philosophy of Science

[Revised entry by Don A. Howard and Marco Giovanelli on September 13, 2019. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html] Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955) is well known as the most prominent physicist of the twentieth century. His contributions to twentieth-century philosophy of science, though of comparable importance, are less well known. Einstein's own philosophy of science is an original synthesis of elements drawn from sources as diverse as neo-Kantianism, conventionalism, and logical empiricism, its distinctive feature being its novel blending of realism with a holist, underdeterminationist form of conventionalism. Of special note is [More]

Natural Properties

[New Entry by Cian Dorr on September 13, 2019.] Consider the following pairs of properties. (As is common in the literature on this topic, this entry will use the words 'property' and 'relation' interchangeably. Properties in the usual sense are distinguished as "monadic", and relations in the usual sense as [More]

André Gallois (1945-2019)

André Norman Gallois, emeritus professor of philosophy at Syracuse University, died earlier this month. Professor Gallois was known for his work in metaphysics (especially the metaphysics of identity), philosophy of mind, and epistemology. In addition to many articles on these topics, he authored the books The World Without, The Mind Within (Cambridge, 1996), Occasions of Identity: A Study in the Metaphysics of Identity (Oxford, 1998), and The Metaphysics of Identity (Routledge, 2016). Professor Gallois studied philosophy at the University of Sussex and the University of Oxford, before taking up his first teaching position in 1971 at the University of Florida. He then moved to Australia, teaching initially at Monash University and then for many years at the University of Queensland. In 1997 he moved to Keele University, and then to Syracuse in 2002. In a post about him, Eric Schliesser (Amsterdam) writes: “André had firm views about what counts as philosophy that I sometimes thought too traditional. But once an issue was being analyzed, one could not imagine a gentler and more encouraging companion in shared, all-absorbing philosophical inquiry.” You can learn more about Professor Gallois’ work here. The post André Gallois (1945-2019) appeared first on Daily [More]

Are robots like animals? In Defence of the Animal-Robot Analogy

Via Rochelle Don on FlickrPeople dispute the ontological status of robots. Some insist that they are tools: objects created by humans to perform certain tasks — little more than sophisticated hammers. Some insist that they are more than that: that they are agents with increasing levels autonomy — now occupying some liminal space between object and subject. How can we resolve this dispute?One way to do this is by making analogies. What is it that robots seem to be more like? One popular analogy is the animal-robot analogy: robots, it is claimed, are quite like animals and so we should model our relationships with robots along the lines of the relationships we have with animals.In its abstract form, this analogy is not particularly helpful. ‘Animal’ denotes a broad class. When we say that a robots is like an animal do we mean it is like a sea slug or like a chimpanzee, or something else? Also, even if we agree that a robot is like a particular animal (or sub-group of animals) what significance does this actually have? People disagree about how we ought to treat animals. For example, we think it is acceptable to slaughter and experiment with some, but not others.The most common animal-robot analogies in the literature tend to focus on the similarities between robots and household pets and domesticated animals. This makes sense. These are the kinds of animals with whom we have some kind of social relationships and upon whom we rely for certain tasks to be performed. Consider [More]

The Question Concerning the Thing: On Kant's Doctrine of the Transcendental Principles

2019.09.09 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Martin Heidegger, The Question Concerning the Thing: On Kant's Doctrine of the Transcendental Principles, James D. Reid and Benjamin D. Crowe (trs.), Rowman and Littlefield, 2018, 181pp., $95.00 (hbk), ISBN 9781783484638. Reviewed by Hakhamanesh Zangeneh, California State University, Stanislaus This is a new translation of material which had appeared in English in 1967[1] but had long been out of print. Insofar as it increases the availability in English of Heidegger's interpretations of Kant, it is quite welcome. The book is also a welcome return of Heidegger translations to manuscripts dealing with traditional philosophical authors and themes. It can be argued that ever since the publication of Peter Trawny's reading of the 'black notebooks,' in 2014,[2] Heidegger studies has been taken hostage by Nazism studies. The majority of recent English translations released by the biggest publisher of Heidegger's works, Indiana University Press, have in fact been those diaries. The... Read [More]